Monday, December 30, 2013

Better Watch Out, Mikey

The glory of you breakdance prodigiousity is in peril!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice, all

And a merry Feast of Saturnalia.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So, Path of Exile is good.

Gamespot PC Game of the Year

Game Revolution Most Surprising Game of the Year

Friday, December 13, 2013

I seem to be an uncle. God help us.

The fetus growing inside sibling has successfully navigated the slippery slope to personhood.

7 pounds.  It has a length yet to be discerned.  For some reason those numbers are usually reported.

Oh, it also has a penis.

They named it William Isaac.  I assume it was named after William H. Macey and Isaac Jaffe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hey, Hey! You, You!

I'm just going to say what everyone else is thinking:

herzlichen-glueckwunsch-0003.gif from 123gifs.eu
That captures it, right?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Years Boardgames

I know it's a bit late, but once again, for anyone interested I will be hosting board games all day New Year's eve and all day New Years.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Path of Exile: Release / Beta Packs

Reminder that Path of Exile will be live in about 20 minutes.  Free to download.  Free to play.

Also reminder that you still have 14 hours to purchase a Beta Supporter pack.  If you plan to ever buy points for the game, now is the time to do it!

I reached end-game content, and was planning to write another review.  But now that I think about it, I can easily review the game by providing a few comparisons.

Docks Runs = Blood Runs
Merv Runs = Mephisto Runs
Temple Runs = Baal Runs

I am not shitting you.  Path of Exile is the sequel to Diablo 2 that we always wanted.

Path of Exile is Diablo 2: LoD 2.

This coming from a guy who still logs in to battle.net to keep his Realm characters from expiring.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pokemon X/Y : It's like Path of Exile, but most of them aren't rocks

You guys, there's a new Pokemon game, and it's a lot like the other Pokemon games, but this one is just basically fucking full of polygons.  At one point while playing, you'll probably take a look at Pikachu, expecting to see some variation of the sprite that has become so familiar your brain has actually grown around it over time, like a tree slowly enveloping a nearby fence post.

But there's no sprite!  Your brain tree recoils, decades of growth undone, then registers the fact that there's a three dimensional model of Pikachu, and when he opens his mouth, a GameBoy-era digital screech does not come out, but a voice sample from the anime.  It is so startlingly revolutionary that I fear I err on the side of understatement when I say that the moment has not and never will be surpassed, even if we were to one day land on the moon.

Otherwise, the game is pretty standard.  I like a lot of the new Pokemon, I like that I'm only using birds as much as possible, and I like that you can farm the everloving shit out of berries in a dedicated berry farm, and not some ridiculous network of overlooked parcels of land spread out over an entire country.  I also like that the experience share device is given to you pretty early, and applies to all Pokemon in your party.  I sort of like the mini-games that let you dick around with your party and raise their musical note stat, and that they finally moved EV training to the forefront and made a game out of it.  I like that you can change your trainer's appearance, I like that the roller skates that make travel a lot quicker, I like that you can run inside buildings, and I like that these mundane things are the most notable improvements they've made to the series since I last checked in at Pearl.

Well, ok, they've also improved the internet stuff, which works a lot better.  You can trade and battle and talk to people locally or over the tubes far easier than I would have ever expected Nintendo to allow.  Even if you're not in a Pokemon Center, upstairs standing around in front of a desk like an idiot, you can initiate a trade.  Even if you haven't entered in your system friend code, your game friend code, and/or scanned your Club Nintendo card in your e-Reader, you can connect to other players.  It's pretty great.

On the whole, I give Pokemon X/Y five Eevee armies out of a possible Bidoof Cyclone

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Path of Exile: It's like pokemon, but they're rocks

The main problem with Diablo 3 is that it removed the metagame.

I'll just let that stand alone, for a moment.  So you can soak it in.

This removal has a few consequences with respect to character creation.  The over-simplification of stat allocation and skill acquisition extirpated the need to employ spreadsheets and spend hours researching character builds on forums.  It also eliminated the flavor of character creation.  In Diablo 2, your leap Barbarian felt like *your* leap Barbarian.  Sure, all leap Barbarians may be functionally identical, but by allowing players to pick their own stats, and maintaining some permanence to skill choice, one felt as if they had created a character unique to them.  Diablo 3's character creation system, by contrast, is so bland and inconsequential that it purges any sense of uniqueness from characters.  Your Barbarian is exactly like every other Barbarian, so "fuck it".

Path of Exile is the antithesis of that, due to this:



and these:



Path of Exile's passive tree, and skill gem system, allow players to build a character unique to them.  As with Diablo 2, every Spork Witch is functionally identical, but the game manifests the feeling of building your own unique character.  To make Sporky the Spork Witch, a player has to hunt down the Spark and Fork gems.  Said player then has to read internet forums and theorycraft the passive tree that will most compliment Sporky's intended purpose.  There is consequence to character creation, and an ample metagame over top the game proper.

To provide a bit more detail on just what that means, characters do not gain spells as they level.  Instead, spells are attained by acquiring spell gems.  In Diablo 2, you get fireball by leveling up.  In Path of Exile, you get fireball when the fireball gem drops off a mob, and you socket it into an item.  As your character gains experience, so too does the fireball gem.  When you get better items, you can unsocket and resocket the gem into the new items.  Gems can be passed between characters as well.

So, in addition to leveling your character, you also level your spell gems.  This creates another avenue for uniqueness and individuality to your account.  A player has a level 30 witch, a level 7 spark gem, and a level 4 fork gem.  It's like pokemon, but they're rocks.

The passive tree is where this goes a bit too far.  "Intimidating" fails to adequately capture the sense one has when allocating passive points.  While there are some mechanisms for a partial respec of points, the depth of the passive tree may foster a sense of 'Diablo 2 Skill-Point Anxiety', wherein players hoard their points until they have a better grasp on the game mechanics, and then spend them with trembling hands.  If Path of Exile has a fault, it is found in this expansive passive system.  However, given how shitty Diablo 3 was, this is a fault one appraises with a kind eye.

Moreover, any character can use any weapon or skill.  So, you want to build a barbarian who throws fireballs?  Go fucking nuts.  Fagballs the Flamer Barb may be completely ineffective at endgame, but you still have the option of making him.

Hear that, Blizzard?  "Option."

The game also solves the perpetual problem of gold currency devaluation by removing coinage.  The "currency" of the game is found in identification / town portal scrolls, and various orbs a character can use to modify their items.  One Orb of Scouring (remove all properties from an item) is worth six Orbs of Alteration (reforges a magic item with new random properties).  Helpful websites exist to articulate the current exchange rates.  This system solves the problem of the SOJ economy dilemma, by making the most valuable currency items reasonably available to all players.

PoE also solves the problem of Hardcore being retarded.  In Diablo 2 and 3, when your Hardcore character dies it is gone forever, lost to lag and mourned for days.  When your Hardcore character dies in Poe?  It is changed to a Softcore character.

That's it.  You don't lose your gear.  You don't lose your items.  Fagballs simply changes from Hardcore to Softcore.  There is absolutely no reason to not start as a Hardcore character.

I know, right?

Between the passive tree, skill stones, a sensible approach to Hardcore, and the currency system, Path of Exile may very well be the greatest Diablo game, ever.  The graphics are also quite nice, and it's free to download / play.  The company turns a profit through microtransactions that allow players to make aesthetic changes to their characters.  While the game is in beta, there are Open Beta Supporter Packs for sale that allow players to gain points and a few unique items before the game is officially released.  Best of all, if you give them $270 you get your name in the credits!

Anyone who was disappointed with Diablo 3 is strongly encouraged to play Path of Exile, and to give all of your money to Grinding Gear Games just to spite Blizzard.

I give Path of Exile 8 kicks to Jay Wilson's stupid loser face, out of a possible God damn Diablo 3 is a shitty fucking mess of retarded faggoty dumb.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Persepolis

I started to write this post about five years ago, and I haven't seen the movie Persepolis in probably three years, but let's just go ahead and write about it anyway.

For me, the part of Persepolis that endures is the part where the young narrator, Satrapi, starts going to punk shows where men in mohawks scream profanities and unintelligible rage.  Prior to these shows, she had been an uninvested participant of Iranian life following the ousting of the Shah.  She was sent off to the west to be educated in a world not completely fucked, and basically discovered drugs, sex, and punk.

What makes this particular segment memorable to me, despite lasting only momentarily on screen, is the way in which it shows noise and anger as a temporary release from an oppressive world that criminalizes the most mundane of human expressions.  Morality police have been a constant presence in Satrapi's life, using outlandish punishment to dictate how men an women interact, and more pressingly, how women present themselves publicly.  The punk shows neatly shortcut the beauty and sadness of the typical sort of art that flows from suffering and privation (which does, in fact, mark much of Satrapi's work here), and lets us get directly to the part that is ugly and destructive.  It acknowledges a wrong and a feeling of rejection, but doesn't wait for a poet's soul to interpret it.

It just says FUCK really loud into a microphone over a sick guitar riff.  It is a much more nihilistic point of view than what preceded it: nobody is offering a better political alternative, nobody
has the answer for what will fix society's ills, they're just saying "fuck this place", basically.  I dig.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blizzard Removes D3 Auction House



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Friday, September 13, 2013

Constitution Day

Federally mandated period of instruction, or best federally mandated period of instruction?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

To My Surprise


If one vacuums regularly, they don't make me sneeze nearly as much as they usually would. And, then I don't die. And, not dying provides an opportunity to be generous with my affections, which I have chosen to embrace.

Panda wants some soup treats. He wants to be on top of the kitchen cabinets, and he wants quiet time to reflect before making important decisions regarding matters he has not thouroughly considered.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Breath of Fire 6 : Guardians of the White Dragon

Like a nervous parent rushing to the pet store to replace your dead dog before you get home from school, Capcom just announced that the Breath of Fire series isn't dead!  Look, here's Breath of Fire 6, the new online game for PC, tablet, and smartphone.  Sure, it looks a little different, and doesn't play like it used to, but the article claims that it will have some of the same systems as previous games in the series!  One of the photos not showing Dragon Quest monsters and Vanillaware characters even has a guy who potentially will transform into a dragon!

Maybe when there is more detail on what the hell this thing actually is, we'll start to learn to love it just as much as our old dog in time for the game to go live in summer of 2014!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

[chat]ahan Lake

Callahan:  Gender: Boy; Origin: Irish; Meaning: Strife

Strife:
1. vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism: to be at strife.
2. a quarrel, struggle, or clash: armed strife.
3. competition or rivalry: the strife of the marketplace.
4. Archaic. strenuous effort.

Because that's the sort of tone you want to set for an infant's life.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Polyamory: Love : Fucking :: Potentiality : Actuality

Having met a polyamorous individual, I now have to discern what I think about polyamory, as a general concept.  After talking to the individual, and reading some websites, I realized that my initial critique of, "You just don't know what 'favorite' means", failed to adequately appreciate polyamory's nuances. While one can unthinkingly criticize polyamory externally, by labeling it as "wrong" or "missing the point of relationships", just as one could externally criticize monogamy as "evidences an inability to share", an internal critique offers some insights into both relationships and love.  Let's begin with the definition of polyamory, since definitions are always the most important aspect of any discussion, ever.

"Polyamory" combines the greek "poly" (many) with the latin "amor" (love), which is great, since smashing Greek and Latin together is always the best strategy for maintaining clarity of thought.  If we spend a few minutes perusing the etymology of amor, we find that its root, amo, comes "probably from Proto-Indo-European *am-a-, *am- (“mother, aunt”), a lost nursery-word of the papa-type."  This is a love of affection, of familial fidelity, more than love of an erotic nature.  Moreover, the verb "amo" can be translated in at least four ways:
1)  I love
2)  I am fond of, like.
3)  I am under obligation to; I am obliged to.
4)  (with infinitive) To enjoy, be accustomed.


The love of amo, of polyAMOry, is not exclusively a love that involves fucking.  Most of the uses indicate fondness, liking, obligation, enjoyment, rather than an exchange of bodily fluids.  So much for the "I maintain multiple fuck partners due to philology" argument.

This confusion of definition plays out in some of the arguments from analogy used by polyamorous folks.  Some argue that since a person can love multiple friends, and a parent can love multiple children, then a polyamorous individual can love (fuck) multiple partners.  The problem is one of equivocation.   The relationship between a parent and child is qualitatively different from the relationship between a mother and father, or a boyfriend and boyfriend, or two friends.  As amo has at least 4 translations, so, too, are there multiple kinds of love.  The fact that one can friend-love multiple friends does not imply that one can fuck-love multiple sexual partners, since friend-love and fuck-love are different things.  The "love" category works kinda exactly like "dog".

If there are different kinds of love, then how can one discern what kind of love is occurring?  Sensible persons maintain that internal dispositions are evidenced by external acts.  (Footnote:  If you do not grant this, then you just lost the ability to critique folks for performative contradictions, hypocrisy.  And you've opened the door to private language.)  We can discern that friend-love differs from erotic-love because one involves fucking while the other does not.  Similarly, we can discern that parent-love differs from friend-love because they entail different external actions.  I may love my friends, but I won't change their diapers.  Since polyamorous folks engage in different acts than monogamous folks, we can say that the internal dispositions of members of each group differ, since they prompt different external acts.

This is where we find a significant problem:  As soon as we use this argument to strictly divide polyamory from monogamy, in terms of different kinds of love by different kinds of actions, we've opened ourselves up to the argument being used against every other human relationship.

Just as the love between a parent and child is not the love between two dating teens, so too does the love between Monogamous-pair-A and Monogamous-pair-B differ, if we assess internal love by external acts.  The pairs may fuck differently, handle finances differently, spend different amounts of time together, have different living arrangements, etc.  Each collection of  external acts evidences a different set of internal disposition, a different particular instantiation of the vague love-category.  Once we apply this critique to every relationship, we find that each parent to child relationship evidences a different instantiation of the love-category, since the differences in external actions indicate a difference of internal disposition.  The same with friendship, casual dating, etc.

Even if we restrict ourselves to "love that entails fucking", and ignore all the other components of erotic relationships, there are still obvious differences between what occurs, mechanically, between two heterosexuals, two lesbians, or two gay dudes.  Since we define the internal disposition in terms of external acts, the external acts of two gay dudes evidence a different internal-love-disposition than the external acts of two heterosexuals.

Since butt-fucking differs from cunnilingus, they must result from different internal emotive dispositions and, so, different kinds of love.  This is where the premise we pretty much have to maintain gets us.

The easy solution is to vague the categories.  And, yes, I just used "vague" as a verb.  Deal with it.  Once we vague the fucking category, we can declare anal sex, blowjobs, heterosexual missionary-style intercourse, and cunnilingus to be "similar enough" that they all count as fucking and so evidence a "similar enough" internal disposition of "love that entails fucking".  The question, as always, is where we draw the line.

The easiest line to draw, with respect to polyamory, is the "poly".  One could argue that poly-love is significantly different from mono-love because of the number of people involved.  While that is a shitty argument, and can be sensibly disputed, the common reply used in pro-polyamory arguments abandons sense in favor of going full-on retard.

Polyamorous folks who once took an Econ 101 class tend to enjoy the phrases "scarcity model of love" and "starvation model of love".  They argue that love is not a limited resource where love "spent" on Partner-A diminishes the resource-love-pool from which one can love Partner-B.  Instead, love "behaves in wonderful and unpredictable and counterintuitive ways", and so "the more love you give away, the more love you have to give".  I do not know if love is an infinite or finite resource, and ultimately do not care.  That argument is uninteresting.  The interesting argument focuses upon the shift the Econ 101 polyamorist made in the discussion.

At the beginning of this rant, we discussed the difference between "love" and "fucking".  In the scarcity / starvation argument, the polyamorist focuses upon the love, the emotive disposition, the intent.  Since "intent" is an unlimited resource, polyamorous folks can "intend" multiple partners.  But as we demonstrated above, there is a distinction between internal dispositions and external actualizations of those dispositions.  Moreover, we can discern the qualities of the internal disposition by assessing the external actualizations of that disposition.  The potentiality of the internal disposition is only meaningful, is only useful, with respect to the external actualizations of that disposition.  Said another way:

Love may be an infinite resource, but time is not.

One can claim to have infinite love for Player-A, Player-B, and Player-C.  Unfortunately, the structure of reality is such that one has limited time to spend with each player.  While each player may have different needs, and desire different manifestations of affection or attention, it seems highly unlikely that each partner would get 100% of their needs met all the time.  If we chart out instances of need-meeting, and graph the percentage of needs met, we could find that, on a quantitative assessment, the potential-love for each partner was not equal due to actualization-love not being equal.

The claim of equality of potentiality is a very hollow and vacuous claim.  This is not a unique problem to polyamory, but rather a manifestation of some problems of Western metaphysics:  How does potentiality relate to actuality?  How is potentiality assessed and discerned?  Potentiality is weird.  Anyway, in a polyamorous relationship one can claim to love any number of partners equally.  However, if that potential is not actualized equally, then the initial claim of equality is of little or no practical value.

Actuality is different from potentiality.  See:  Aristotle

This is a problem with some arguments for polyamory:  They often confuse potentiality with actuality.  Polyamory defines itself in terms of actually having multiple sexual partners, and justifies this actuality by an appeal to the concept of infinite potentiality.  It maintains a fundamentally incongruous system since it justifies the actual by appealing to the potential.

And this is exactly what all human social relationships do.

Suppose a mother meets her child's needs more than her husband's needs, or a guy pays more attention and effort to his work than his boyfriend.  One might fail to actualize their potential love for their partner by focusing on other friends, hobbies, jobs, etc.  The confusion between actual and potential is not unique to polyamory.  Conflicting loyalty is not unique to polyamory.

In monogamy, the conflict is avoided by an appeal to categories of affection.  If one's girlfriend goes on vacation for a week, her lack of affection during that week is rationalized by considering vacation-effort to be of a different kind than relationship-effort.  Alternatively, it is rationalized by her potential to express affection when she returns.  In the procreation scenario, a spouse's attention on one's kids is accepted by intertwining the child's well-being with one's own well-being:  He's taking care of my daughter, who is an extension of me, and so he's still taking care of me, in a sense.  Despite the rationalization, there is still a conflict of loyalty in these relationship.  One privileges the vacation over the partner, or the child over the spouse, and we excuse it by modifying our categories of love, or creating new ones.

The difference is that in polyamory that conflict involves fucking other people.  Since most folks don't share well, they criticize polyamory for problems that persons in monogamous relationships experience as well.  Everyone has conflicting loyalties, except for sociopaths, maybe.

That is what I think interesting about polyamory:  It makes us question what "love" is, what a "relationship" is, and how various relationship structures relate to love.  If love is a meaningful infinite resource of potential with respect to parents, children, friends, and monogamous folks, then I am not sure why it would not be equally meaningful with respect to polyamory hives.  If we discern love only by external actions, then monogamy has some problems, too.

I'm pretty sure there is not a reasonable argument to be made against polyamory as a general practice.  One can make an ad populum "most people don't do that" argument, but fuck ad populum arguments.  One could offer the indomitable critique of, "I don't like it." but that's merely an expression of emotive disposition, rather than an actual argument.  The "exclusivity" argument is just a gussied up version of "I don't share well", and inability to share is hardly a virtue.  If we confront the "it's not conducive to procreation" argument then we trot out the tried-and-true "barren heterosexual couple" example.

Once we get a few premises on the table:
- "Love" is a vague category.
- Internal dispositions are evidenced by external acts.
- Potentiality is not actuality.


it is entirely not difficult to demonstrate that polyamory is not significantly different from monogamy, at least in terms of the general structure of love and human relationships.

Polyamory is just different.  It does not seem to be inherently wrong, inherently contradictory, or inherently flawed.  Yeah, it's kind of goofy, but so are all human relationship.  Yeah, it's hard to rationally justify, but so is *everything* independent of a set of unargued primary assumptions.  And, sure, polyamorist use flawed arguments and mistaken understandings of terms, but so does about 92% of the human population.

If you want to fuck a bunch of people?  That's cool.  If you want to only fuck one person?  That's fine.  But don't pretend that one relationship structure evidences a more "true" or "pure" form of whatever-the-fuck love is.  Love is just a word that appeals to an incredibly vague and diverse conceptual collection of human activities.

And, really, it's all just Oxytocin, anyway.

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's the little victories that matter most




I'm the best
Around
Everybody loves my awesome town




Sunday, June 30, 2013

Animal Crossing New Leaf: Char guide



The most pain-in-the-ass item on that list is the char. Here are some images to help you nab one.



It spawns *in* the waterfall, so you'll need to cast your lure in the top river, and let it fall down to get the char's attention.



The shadow will follow your lure out of the waterfall. You can kinda make out the shadow size in this picture

.

Success!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Animal Crossing Best Buy Spotpass Workaround

Players of Animal Crossing: New Leaf can access exclusive content this summer by visiting Best Buy.  If you connect to the Spotpass service within a store, you will download four special items during the following dates:

6/16-6/29    Raccoon Wall-Clock
6/30-7/13    Cat Tower
7/14-7/27    Suitcase
7/28-8/10    Double Neck Guitar

Unfortunately, the majority of Best Buy stores are not participating in this promotion, because "fuck you", and Nintendo will not inform players of an alternative means of obtaining the items, no matter how many times you call them, because, again, "FUCK YOU!"

Luckily, those of us who do not live in "metropolitan areas" can access this content without having to buy plane tickets, or drive to another god damned state.

Step 1:  Change the SSID on your wireless network to "Bestbuy".
Step 2:  Rename your wireless network name within your 3DS wireless settings.

Your Nintendo Zone icon ought to now be shitting itself in anticipation.  If you click the icon and try to access a Nintendo Zone it will not work, but that is alright.

Step 3:  Load Animal Crossing.
Step 4:  Go to the post office.
Step 5:  Talk to Pelly / Phyllis.
Step 6:  Click the 'Ask about a present' option.

If you follow these steps, then you ought to receive an awesome Raccoon Wall-Clock, without having to visit Best Buy!



Enjoy your digital items!

In closing, I would like to say a very special FUCK YOU to Best Buy, and FUCK YOU to Nintendo, for their not informing me of this when I called them today asking if there was a way for me to get these items without having to drive 2+ hours.

I hope the customer service representatives who told me to drive to another state die in a fucking fire.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Animal Crossing is Serious Business

Noticed something amusing after I placed the new AC Prima guide on my desk, next to some other books.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Animal Crossing New Leaf: Upgrade Schedule



Click to see full size.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Remember when SONY was the asshole?



It seems like just yesterday we were bitching about how SONY hated its customer base, that in order to purchase any SONY product you must first permit them to kick you in the junk.

And now they go and do this...



The cheer.  Oh, the cheer.

I don't know what to make of a world in which SONY is the good guy, and Microsoft is the asshole.


Also, this



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diablo 3 1 year anniversary [chat]

Diablo 3 has been around for one year.  How did Blizzard decide to celebrate?  Why, by releasing patch 1.0.8 with an integer overflow error that resulted in gold duping.

Because programming is difficult.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part 2

Hyperbole and a Half: Depression Part 2

Maybe one of the best descriptions of depression.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

[chat] of May



Possibly NSFW, maybe.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Speed Bump is totes ma faves

And you can clearly see why:

ImeanliekLOL1

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Out of [chat]



This is depressing as hell.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Help Boston: Retweet #prayforboston

In the wake of the Boston bombing, many religious individuals have offered prayers of support for the victims, asking God to comfort and heal the wounded.  In a stunning break from tradition, God has released a statement to humanity regarding some reactions to this tragedy.


Hey guys,

So, after that bombing many of you prayed that I comfort the victims, that I provide guidance to the FBI as they hunt for the perpetrators, and that I heal the wounded.  While I appreciate the attention, I thought it might be good to clarify some things about which you seem to be confused.

First of all, I'm omnipotent.  You don't need to tell me the bombing happened.  I am aware of it.  And if you want me to do something?  I know that, too.  Telling me that you want me to heal someone, when I know you want me to heal them, is a bit redundant.  Our lines of communication don't get clogged like cellphone towers, but hearing the same request gets old after a while.

Second of all, doctors heal people, not me.  I don't know why y'all haven't picked up on that yet, but medical science is, generally, the best way to remove shrapnel from an appendage.  As an incorporeal entity, it's very difficult for me to operate a scalpel.  Maybe you should focus upon aiding doctors and medical personnel instead of talking to me; they're the healers.

On that note, you may want to rethink how you approach aiding your fellow human beings, in general.  I don't want to tell you how to live your life, but right now there are hundreds of people donating blood, and thousands donating money.  In the wake of the bombing some opened their homes to individuals who had no place to stay.  A few restaurants in the Boston area enacted a "pay if you can" policy last night.

That's helping.

I'm sure you feel like talking to me, or retweeting #prayforboston, counts for something...but in the grand scheme of things?  That's really just a way for you to make yourself feel like you helped out; you haven't actually done anything.  And believe me, I know all about non-action in the face of tragedy.

Speaking of the face of tragedy, you guys have some strange priorities.  A few hours ago there was an earthquake in Iran.  A series of attacks in Iraq resulted in 55 deaths yesterday, with 300 injured.  You aren't omnipotent, like me, but you do get CNN.  Any reason why you're silent on these deaths, but can't seem to shut up about Boston?  It's a bit confusing to me, and I understand everything!

Look, I get that existence is scary.  I designed it to be that way.  But it's supposed to make you all band together and form a community of cooperation against a common enemy:  me.  I'm the asshole who forced you to exist, who knowingly allows these events to happen.  You're supposed to turn to one another, to help your fellow man.  If you're talking to me, or posting on Facebook, then you've missed the fucking point.

I mean, come on.  I let an eight year old child be ripped apart by shrapnel.  I watched it happen and didn't do shit.  Given that, what makes you think that I'm inclined to help people?  I'm a fucking prick!

That being said, if you guys could find a way to fuck up the Westboro folks when they picket the funerals that would be great.  Even I am disgusted by those folks.

Yours in Christ,
God

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bevity: Always spot on

For instance:


It is Kids in the Hall good, folks.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coat Check [chat]



Heart Coat Check Girl.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

IU Strike: Complaining without Solutions

Students and Staff at IU Bloomington have planned a strike for April 11th and 12th.  This has received some attention from The Nation, and the strike, itself, has a tumblr page.  Because how are you supposed to fight the man without a tumblr page?  Combing through the tumblr one can find a plethora of grievances mixed with hopeful idealism.  As one image on the site articulates:

"The goal is to contest the administration's efforts to make IU a more exclusive, costly institution, at the expense of students and staff. We have already forced the administration to acknowledge these issues, but through collective action, we want to push further so that we can imagine together a different future for IU."

The goal of the strike is to contest, to push, to imagine.  As the demands page says, the goal is, "to foster discussion and encourage action".  There be discontent, and this discontent needs to be articulated.  What is curious, however, are some terms that are absent from the site:

- Solution
- Proposal
- Answer

They're as mad as hell.  They aren't going to take it anymore.  But fuck if they know how to get where they want to be, how they can solve the problem.  This is troubling.

For one thing, their lack of forethought, planning, and basic economic skills results in untenable demands.  Let's look at their six preliminary demands:

1)  Immediately reduce tuition and eliminate fees.
2)  Stop Privatization and outsourcing at IU.
3)  End the wage freeze.
4)  The university must honor its promise to double the enrollment of African-American students to 8%.
5)  Abolish both HB1402 and SB590.
6)  No retaliation for participating in or organizing the strike.

Notice 1 and 3?  1 requires that the University decrease the amount of money it take in.  3 requires that the University increase staff / faculty salaries, and so push more money out.  So, our helpful protesters have demanded that IU collect less money, but dole out larger checks.  My guess is that no math / econ students, or faculty, participated in the construction of that list.

Let's be clear:  Each particular demand, itself, is not troubling or problematic.  Having a strike or demonstration is fine and dandy.  Communicating unrest and voicing opposition to trends?  Go for it.  But there is a difference between criticism and constructive criticism.  Criticism is people yelling and dancing around wearing Guy Fawkes masks.  Constructive criticism is people articulating their grievances, and offering some fucking solutions to the god damned problem.  It's taking the step beyond mere vocalization of unrest, and striving for resolution.

This is the general problem with contemporary civil unrest, with campus strikes and the Occupy Wall Street movement.  They're great at complaining and not showering.  But when it comes time to sit down and articulate a practical solution nothing happens.  The people in the drum circle can imagine a better world, can articulate their imagined possible reality, but have no fucking clue how to get from where we are, to what they want to be.

It seems like that would be a critical step:  A woman in the drum circle stands up and says, "And here is my Excel document with cost breakdowns for how we can transition from the current economic paradigm to a more palatable system."  But that won't happen, because instead of learning economic theory and the inter-workings of University bureaucracy the fucker was busy learning to play a djembe.

My guess is that their website has not exhausted its server space.  So, if they had solutions they could have made a "How to solve the problem" page.  But they didn't make the page, so they probably don't have the solutions.

It's just like Hugh Laurie sang:



Here's my constructive criticism for the folks at IU:  Add some fucking solutions to your tumblr page, and have an idea of how to enact your economic demands.

Because you need more to offer than, "All we gotta do is.....(harmonica)"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Distributed Vernacular Acculturation Webs

I am working on an article concerning the development of para-legitimate verbal states focusing on the mechanisms of attenuation, ordinance, and initial bearing of ω class substrate tinges as a series of complex recursive metaphors regarding the malediction and chastisement of genial agents, blanket drapers, and Tolkien-based authentication mechanisms. Proposing to purport pitiable passages parsing as prepossessing paraphrase, periphrastic polyglots prepend presumptuous prepositions periodically penning poetical psalms. Wresting grist from meager life, solemn salmon seek the solace of spring sourcewaters, struggling.

Here's Tom with the weather.

Suzy Lee Weiss vs. Frank Bruni

How likely is it that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal got together to produce two related columns?

On March 29th, the Wall Street Journal posted this opinion piece by Suzy Lee Weiss entitled 'To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me', a rant in which Miss Weiss places the blame for her lack of college acceptance on the colleges.  The next day, we find this Op-ed by Frank Bruni, a rant about shitty parents.

It seems like the two articles may be related.

Miss Weiss feels that she is entitled to attend her ideal school despite her lack of extra curricular activities or strong SAT scores.  Mr. Bruni claims that, "the Me Generation spawned generations of mini-me’s", suggesting that parental narcissism may be passed on to the offspring.  Perhaps the mentality that prompted Miss Weiss to write her column resulted from the mentality to which Bruni points.

Bruni also observes, "You can eliminate the valedictorians from high school but you can’t eliminate them from life."  While parents heap praise and adoration upon their children, the world may not view them as precious snowflakes.  Once they leave home, children are assessed by the standards of their professors and employers.  Cue Miss Weiss and her lack of preparation for gaining acceptance to college, and inability to shoulder her own responsibility for her shortcomings.

What is also interesting are the comments for each article.  There seems to be universal distain for the Weiss piece and its theme of entitlement and perceived unfairness.  In contrast to this, many readers seem to agree with the Bruni piece.  A few people invoke the "you've never fucked without using a condom, so what do you know about parenting" trope, but generally readers seem to agree that shitty parents produce shitty kids.

It strikes me as odd that these two pieces appeared within a day of one another, that we find the disease on the 29th and the diagnosis on the 30th.

What is also odd is the reality of children like Miss Weiss.  I sincerely doubt that parents set out to raise shitty kids.  Yet we find that many parents utilize the strategies critiqued by Bruni:  children as snowflakes, children as equals, children with fucking iPhones.  No one wants to raise a spoiled brat, and yet persons constantly engage in activities that seem to result in spoiled brats.  We could explain that by narcissists producing narcissists, but whence that first generation?

I just thought it was interesting that these two articles appeared in two different publications on the same weekend, and it happened to be a weekend on which parents shower their children with candy.

Coincidence?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Babies and Qualia

Having reached an age at which procreation is a thing done by my peers, I found myself grappling with the question of whether or not procreation was a thing for me to do.  After talking to a friend, he sent me a link to a sample draft of a paper, by L.A. Paul, about an epistemic issue involved in the decision to have a child.  I read it, thought about it, and filed away the info in my "I'll blog about that someday" folder.  Turns out NPR posted a blog about the paper last week.  So, it seems to be the time to toss out some words.

Conventional thinking lands us in an untenable middle-ground between two approaches to the question of procreation.  On one side is the "I want one" camp whose main approach to the question is emotion-based.  One feels one's way through the question by means of one's emotive inclinations, or lack thereof, to procreate.  On the other side is the "Let's think about this" camp whose main approach to the question is reason.  These individuals cost / benefit their way through the question, assess issues of economic concerns, ask existential questions regarding the nature of reality, etc.  Both positions imagine their way through the questions and concerns to reach a decision on whether or not they shall fuck without using contraceptives.

Paul's paper tosses a wrench into the process.  The wrench is this:  Many parents report that having a child is a life-changing experience that fundamentally alters their perception of reality.  The life-changing nature of parenthood significantly alters one's epistemic framework after childbirth.  Given the significance of the life alteration, it is impossible for one to reason, emote, or imagine their way through the question of procreation to make an informed decision:  You really do not, and can not, know what it will be like to have the child until after you have the child.

Most people seem to think this conclusion is either obvious or hogcock.  Unfortunately, most people think that as a result of a knee-jerk reaction to being told something about their self by an academic, rather than a thoughtful critique of the thesis put forth by Paul.  So, rather than be knee-jerk about it, let's assess the crux of Paul's argument:  Epistemically-transformative experiences.  Paul uses the example provided by Frank Jackson, so let's go with that one.

Imagine a neuroscientist named Mary.  She has complete knowledge of the mechanical and neurological processes by which one sees color.  When someone sees the color red, Mary can completely explain how they see the color red.  Sadly, Mary has been raised in a black and white laboratory.  She has only ever seen black and white; she has never seen the color red.  Jackson argues that despite her knowledge about color, light, and neurology, it is impossible for Mary to know what it is like to see red, to access the qualia of "seeing red".

Paul argues that the "seeing red" qualia is akin to the "having a child" qualia.  Just as Mary cannot read and research her way to "what it is like to see red", one cannot reason or emote one's way to "what it is like to be a parent / have a child".

My initial inclination is to say that "seeing red" differs from "having a child" in a way that renders the Mary story irrelevant.  The qualia of seeing red may be unique and one may only gain it by having the experience.  Having a child is not this sort of thing.  Rather, "having a child" is the heaping of all the discrete particular actions involved in having a child:  providing nutrients, changing diapers, paying bills, having concerns, teaching skills, running errands, buying toys, etc.  In my estimation, I can approximate what it is like to have a child by talking to parents, babysitting, spending time in the Wal-Mart toy aisle, staring at shitty diapers, and setting my money on fire.

The problem, of course, is what Paul argues:  Many parents claim that "having a child" is a life-changing event that is epistemically transformative.  If these self-reports of parents are correct, then one cannot get to the qualia of "having a child" by heaping up a lot of babysitting.  When one has a child, something magical happens, and they become a different person who can access a bit of qualia that was previously unattainable.

I am not sure what make of that.  If true, then we seem to be epistemically screwed.  Someone who fervently argues against procreation may, after having a child, become a fantastic parent.  A woman who breaks up with males that exhibit reservations against procreation may eventually turn out to loathe her children, and lament leaving the dudes who were not keen on knocking her up.  Moreover, one seems unable to know whether or not the event will be life-changing, for them, until after it happens.

There's also the problem of being reductionists about qualia.  To go back to the Mary story, how different is "seeing red" from "seeing orange"?  If we treat these as atomistic then we get one answer, but if red and orange are on a spectrum with white and black then perhaps there is no vast epistemic gap, and Mary can get to red from her white and black qualia.  Similarly, perhaps "having a child" isn't too different from raising a sibling, or babysitting a lot, or having a fussy cat.  We can place parenthood on a spectrum, and then approximate it by navigating our way through the spectrum.

Ultimately, I like Paul's paper and think it is a helpful application of philosophic theory to practical concerns.  Anything that softens an individual's stance on procreation, with respect to one's own desires (pro or con), is probably a good thing.  Raising the question of procreation's impact upon the individual knower is beneficial.  Telling people they cannot predict what having a child will be like, for them, and providing an argument seems keen.

Unfortunately, Paul's project maintains the theme of asking procreative questions from the parent's perspective:  How can you know whether or not you will like having a child?  It continues the trend of treating children as a means to the parent's ends.  In contrast to Paul, and most of humanity, I think the better procreative question to ask is one that addresses the concerns of neither the mother nor the father:  Will your child want to have been born?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Optical Illusion [chat]



Which conclusion do we inductively reach?

1)  Cat's eyes work like ours, and it perceives the illusion of a moving snake.
2)  This particular cat dislikes pieces of paper with circular patterns, so tries to rip it apart.
3)  Seizure cat be seizuring.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Emprises of Not-Icarus™: Episode 2

Having taken a 21 month break since Episode 1, I now present the second episode of everyone's favorite super hero I made up to demonstrate my ability to construct a webcomic!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Partial Man Flowchart



via

Saturday, March 9, 2013

German Techno [chat]



"You are so on that things have now become very much like Donkey Kong."

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rand Paul Filibuster

http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/

It's streaming on C-SPAN2 if you want to watch.

Say what you will about Rand Paul...it's nice to see someone with conviction about something.  Standing and talking for nine hours isn't easy to do.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Copyright Alert [chat]



At some point we'll need to realize, as a species, that notions of "property" and "owning" are really quite dumb.  Until that time, I guess we'll just keep doing stupid shit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Horse Meat and Idiots

It seems that some horse meat sauntered into the European food supply, and this sparked outcry.  Now, just for fun, I'm going to provide two possible reactions to the discovery that horse meat may have ended up in your Whopper.  See if you can guess which one a majority of the media / internet went with.

Option 1:  "The discovery of horse meat raises issues and concerns over the effectiveness of government regulation, and sparked an outcry for more stringent requirements and additional regulatory staff to inspect food processing facilities."

Option 2:  "EEEWWWWWWW THAT'S SO GROOOOSSSSSS!!!!!"

If you selected 1, then you are obviously confused about the nature of our species.

There are legitimate concerns to raise over the relationship between food labels and content, for the sake of allergies, nutrition concerns, and issues of food sourcing.  Some reactions to this situation focused upon these sensible issues.  For example:

"The finding of even trace amounts of equine DNA in beef products, even if of no public health concern, is relevant and worthy of further consideration in cases when the manufacturing plant does not handle horse meat products."

It seems sensible to ask why equine DNA was found in food products that were labeled as beef, since that may indicate a problem with sourcing / packaging of food products.  However, other sources indicate this may not be a problem of mislabeling:  "One of the Romanian slaughterhouses implicated, Carmolimp, said in a statement its meat was properly labelled as horsemeat, adding that it had not exported beef in 2012."  There is a question as to whether the horsemeat was actually mislabeled.

A bit of evidence against regulatory failure is the finding that:

"We also had the burgers that tested positive for horse DNA, tested for the presence of a range of animal remedies including phenylbutazone by the State Laboratory on 10th December. Phenylbutazone is a commonly used medicine in horses. Once administered to a horse, the animal is not allowed in the food chain. The FSAI received these results on 19th December and all the results were negative for the presence of phenylbutazone and other drugs."

All of the horsemeat tested seems to have been produced for human consumption, or at least meets the requirements for human consumption.  The horse meat seems to have come from eating horses, as opposed to riding horses.  The problem is that people thought they were eating cow, but were actually eating horsey.

Clearing up those issues?  Good and sensible.  Unfortunately, the majority of outcry isn't based on those sensible considerations, but rather errs on the side of horseys being inherently for riding, not eating.  And that is fucking stupid, in the same sense that any non-nutritionally based food preference is fucking stupid.

There exist persons who choose to eat horse.  Horse meat is a protein with nutritional qualities that can be processed by the human organism.  Horse is edible.  And, again, there can be legitimate problems if one has a horse allergy, or requires a specific nutritant that cow provides and horse does not.  But the actual majority of bitching isn't focused upon those nutritional concerns.  Rather, it's "EWWWW HORSEY!" which is fucking stupid.

Why is it stupid?

Well, it's stupid because it's based on shitty reasoning such as this:  "Opponents of horse slaughter essentially say eating horses is not part of American culture, equating it to the slaughter of other pets."  It's the nonsensical distinction between "things for eating" and "things not for eating" that rests on cultural biases and nonsensical emotive dispositions and preferences.  It's the same disposition that leads us to keep dogs and cats as pets, rather than snacks.  We're inclined to eat some things, and disinclined to eat others, for reasons other than acquiring the nutrients necessary to sustain life.  It's an arbitrary distinction that comes from arbitrary cultural biases.

Another consideration is the degree to which people seem to have enjoyed eating horsemeat.  Granted, they did not know that their Whopper was horsemeat at the time that they ate it, but their knowledge of its not being cow does not change the enjoyment they experienced.  There are a group of people who, if asked, would probably claim to not enjoy horse meat despite their having unknowingly consumed horse meat and enjoyed it.

That's an interesting situation, and perhaps evidences the degree to which "Horse Meat EEEWWW!!!!" is a childish reaction.

So, if you want to bitch about horse meat, focus upon the legitimate concerns of food inspection and regulation.  Question the effectiveness of labels and the relationship between consumers and suppliers.  Everything else is just emotive braying and culturally biased neigh-saying.